what the sun will look like during eclipse like the total solar eclipse 2024

The Complete Solar Eclipse 2024 Checklist

If you, like millions of other North Americans, are eagerly anticipating the total solar eclipse 2024, then you’ve got less than a week to prepare. That means anything you might need to see it and experience it, you have to buy now! Here’s a few things you absolutely must have and few that will come in handy.

Solar Eclipse 2024

On April 8th, 2024, North America will see a total solar eclipse much similar to the annular solar eclipse in 2017. Total solar eclipses occur on average about once every 360 years. The difference is that in a total solar eclipse, the moon is in a position that once it passes between the earth and sun, it will completely block the sun for what’s called totality.

Totality is amount of time that the moon is fully between the earth and the sun. The skies will darken and those in the path of totality will be able to see the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere. In fact, it will be so dark, that according to NASA, this is the only time when you can briefly look at the sun without proper eye coverings.

In 2017 many states experienced a brief period of totality. This year, instead of 2 minutes and change of totality, the duration of totality in some places is over 4 minutes with the longest being 4 minutes and 27 seconds in the path. And since the moon was farther away in 2017, it wasn’t as dark at totality.

For the 2024 eclipse, the states in the path of totality are Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The eclipse begins in Texas at 1:27 pm CDT and will end in Maine at 3:35 pm EDT. But even states that aren’t in the totality line have a great opportunity to see the solar eclipse 2024.

Solar Eclipse Glasses

If you want to be able to look at the sun and see the solar eclipse 2024 then eclipse glasses are an absolute must. They aren’t fancy. Most are just simple cardboard glasses but the lenses are made with a resin containing carbon particles that block the harmful light.

You can still find glasses on Amazon or just Google them. Local stores like Lowe’s, Walmart and Ace Hardware have them in stock for the solar eclipse 2024. If you don’t want the cheaper, cardboard glasses that have a tendency to fall off, you can also find a version that looks just like sunglasses. Please follow manufacturer instructions.

Note: Do not look at the sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury. Source: NASA

Something To Sit On

Since many people plan on camping for the eclipse, me included, (you can follow my journey to the path of totality on my Instagram stories) you might want to invest in a chair of some kind. Yes, most campgrounds provide picnic tables but that’s not very comfortable or convenient for staring at the sky.

A folding camp chair or better yet, one that reclines is the perfect choice. If you don’t want to invest in a chair you might not use all the time, then a waterproof blanket is another good option since they can be used for a lot of things. I personally will be trying out my air lounger that I bought at Aldi awhile back but you can also find those on Amazon.

A Way to Capture the Day

Phone cameras are so good now, you don’t need to own a DSLR camera to capture the solar eclipse 2024. There are plenty of nifty lens covers to block the light made for phone cameras. Since most phones camera lens are different, the simplest solution is a simple filter that’s held over your phone camera lens. I bought this one but this option is a better deal. Please follow manufacturer instructions.

If you prefer to not look at the eclipse through your phone camera then maybe a tripod is what you need. You can buy super expensive ones but I’ve found this Amazon brand with its own bag super useful for lightweight DSLRs and this option for DSLR and phones with a wireless remote is great too. Additionally, you might find this article with some tips for safely photographing the solar eclipse 2024 useful.

A Weather App

Even though it’s a bit early to make an accurate forecast, so far, the weather isn’t looking so good in some of the cities along the path of totality. Especially Texas, where the historical probability of clear skies is the best. Currently, the northeast, particularly, upstate New York, Vermont and New Hampshire are predicted to have the clearest skies.

So, a good weather app is imperative for keeping an eye on the forecast. The Weather Channel has a 4.7 rating in the Google Play Store and Live Weather: Weather Forecast from WaiWao Studio has a whooping 4.8 rating with over 10 million downloads. Both have in-app purchases but there is a free version with ads.

Honestly, I haven’t found a weather app that I love so I will be testing the WaiWao Studio app on this road trip to Texas for the Solar Eclipse 2024. I’ll let you know how that goes.

A Rain Jacket or Poncho

Because there is a strong chance of clouds, and even some rain, around the time of the 2024 solar eclipse, it’s important to be prepared for any kind of weather. I never leave home without my REI rain jacket. I’ve had mine for awhile now and unfortunately, they don’t make the exact same one but this one is a close contender.

Of course, Amazon has some good products too. Second to the REI brand, Columbia makes an excellent product and I personally haven’t tried this one but it has an top rating, is light weight enough that you won’t burn up in hotter or humid weather and packs easily. Amazon has some good ponchos and this, maybe, a bit less silly looking plastic raincoat.

Google Maps

Since traffic is probably going to be a beast, especially in some of the smaller towns with less infrastructure, it’s important to pay attention to your route and let Google Maps guide and suggest alternatives. If you don’t have a Google Account, now’s a good time to sign up. Google Maps offers quite a few benefits such as location sharing, location history and traffic updates.

You can also see what tips and suggestions Google Local Guides for restaurants and activities in areas you aren’t familiar with. And even though Google owns Waze, I’ve found that, in my opinion, Google uses way less data than Waze. Google Maps also now uses many of the features that Waze users fell in love with like speed trap and object on road warnings.

Maybe the best thing about Google Maps is the downloadable off-line maps for when you don’t have service and need specific info for an area. But even without service and off-line maps, Google Maps is still incredibly useful since satellite coverage allows you to follow along on the map. Just note you won’t have step by step guidance when using GPS directions.

To take advantage of all these helpful features, make sure you have your location turned on in Google Moas for optimal user experience.

A Way to Stay Charged

Since you’ll be outside all day, chasing the eclipse, having a way of keeping your devices charged up is critical. If you plan on being in the car, a simple charger that connects to the cigarette lighter will probably do what you need but if you plan on, or need to, charge other devices then a 12V DC to 110V AC Car Converter is probably what you are looking for.

I own a previous version of this NAPA cupholder charger that I love but this charger with two plugs and 4 USB ports is the ultimate item for charging. Good for when there are several people in your group that need to charge at one time because there’s no taking turns. Plus, with the AC plug you can charge other devices or camera batteries quickly.

The last time I went camping for any length of time, I didn’t own a power station. And I admit, we, me and my daughter, got a bit bored after a few early evenings around the fire. Phone batteries die quickly watching movies or a show.

For the Solar Eclipse 2024, to be better prepared I’ve invested in a power station. No lie, I had trouble deciding which one to buy. Everyone says Jackery is the way to go but I wanted to try something else. I also didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg since I enjoy camping but I’m currently not as much as before.

I ended up buying this Grecell power station mainly because it was rated high but also because it looks nice, no obnoxious colors and it the handle looks secure. A lot of the models I looked at had flimsy looking handles. When you are carrying around 8ish pounds, you don’t want or need a handle to break.

Also, since this is just a short trip, I didn’t purchase solar panels but when I’m ready to cross-county road trip and camp more, I plan on doing so. Review forthcoming.

Good Manners and Patience

The most important thing to bring to the solar eclipse 2024 is your patience. Areas in the path of totality are expecting a huge influx of visitors. If this is where you are headed, then be prepared to deal with heavy traffic, people that might not be as well traveled as you and although I hate to say it, an increase in stupidity.

It seems that we’ve seen an increase in bad behavior on public lands and while participating in outdoor activities in recent years. Which is surprising because you would think people that want to be in the outdoors would have the good sense to protect the very thing they are visiting. So, don’t be surprised if you see someone behaving badly.

Because of the big crowd expectation, the National Guard has been called up to help out in overtaxed rural areas such as McCurtain County, Oklahoma, where popular Broken Bow is located. Broken Bow, in the path of totality, is isolated, and there’s just not much around it either. Having the National Guard, who are trained to assist local government and mitigate problems is a safety precaution.

We can all do our part by being cooperative, patient and kind. If you aren’t familiar with Leave No Trace principles, now would be a good time to familiarize yourself. Above all, remember you are visiting someone’s home. Someone lives in that town or city you’re visiting. How would you feel if millions of people showed up in your neighborhood? Be a nice tourist and and a responsible traveler.

I’ll see you on the road!

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